Well, it’s that time of year again. The holiday shopping season is quickly coming up and shippers are again scrambling to make sure that they are prepared for the incredible spike in deliveries. It didn’t always used to be this way, but with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and online retail in general, the strain on shippers has grown exponentially.
It’s not without reason that shippers, parcel delivery companies, and 3PLs are concerned – there have been several holiday shopping seasons over the last few years where they were unable to deliver items that were purchased as Christmas gifts on time. These failures resulted in terrible press, and a whole bunch of angry consumers.
There are a 3 things that shippers and retailers are already doing to prepare for the holiday shopping season:
- Hiring Surges
It’s been reported that USPS has already begun hiring up to 40,000 additional workers to deal with the mass increase in demand for the holiday shopping season. These are temporary workers that are being brought on specifically for the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
UPS and other shippers are also making similar moves to hire part time workers to meet the expected 700,000,000 packages that will be shipped over the holiday shopping season.
Amazon is also getting in to the mix. The online retail giant is planning on hiring a staggering 120,000 additional workers for their warehouses and fulfillment centers to handle the influx of orders.
- Retailers (Amazon) Prepping Their Warehouses
According to Bloomberg, Amazon has begun restricting their merchants from accessing their new fulfillment centers – an obvious reaction to their expectation that they will be inundated with orders this holiday shopping season. It is Amazon that has born the brunt of criticism for packages being delivered late, even though the last mile was managed by third parties. That’s why, this year, Amazon is doing all it can to be fully prepared.
- Forecasting Holiday Shopping Demand
Years such as 2013, in which shippers were unable to fulfill orders in time for Christmas were a result of poor planning and forecasting. As a result, shippers as well as retailers have spent much time and resources forecasting what the demand will be this holiday shopping season. At the forefront of this work was the knowledge that consumers are relying more and more on online retail than in store – putting a heavier burden on shippers.